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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 14th Oct 2015, 22:13
  #3341 (permalink)  
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What would happen if the plane had a mode - selectable by ATC or from a switch in each pilot's pocket or the purser's - that made it disable everything in the cockpit and fly itself to the nearest suitable airport with autoland?

It would be fine if you were sure the plane was otherwise doomed. The very existence of such a device would stop suicide attempts, and also the case where a plane took off from Cyprus and crashed for lack of pressurisation.

But I think it would be unsellable to pilots and passengers alike.
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 23:04
  #3342 (permalink)  
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Attack vector

Your suggestion with an autoland feature is a very good attack target for anybody intending to down a plane.

Crack the system, and you won. No-one will be able to stop it from happening, by design. And it even can possibly be done anonymously, from remote!

You think, autoland will stop a harmful end? No, just irritate the computer by erroneous sensor input, or even data that will cause the autopilot to crash the plane.

Adding more complexity adds more attack surfaces.

If you look at the reports about the 'safety' of the data buses in planes, it is a miracle to me nothing happened yet in that direction. Up to now, an attacker must still be physically on the plane. Offer external system overrides and it will be mis-used sooner or later.
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Old 15th Oct 2015, 01:19
  #3343 (permalink)  
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In fact, the idea of a function "Autoland" žs not that bad. What can go wrong? Autoland is a routine in a bad weather:

In case the computer receives erroneous data, simple autopilot disconnects and autoland function is disabled.
But when the plane's systems, FAC and FBW are 100% operational and the flight crew do not respond and the trajectory is dubious, then "Autoland" might save the day. ATC could initiate it or by one of the pilots and one of the cabin crew from outside of the cockpit, by entering a known code.
To be clear, only command Autoland is send, then autopilot does its job independently and undisturbed. It's better to command Autoland instead to scramble fighterjets to take down the rogue airplane.
On the other hand, after a bad landing the pilot can say: "We apologize for this autoland, time to time we have to test this function"
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Old 15th Oct 2015, 05:10
  #3344 (permalink)  
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I am genuinely surprised by the number of posters who have raised the possibility that CC can be so readily infiltrated by terrorists that being alone in the cockpit for a short time with a CC member could present a credible risk of terrorist action ... yet having that same person with an airside pass and free to move about the aircraft in flight is OK.
Because we do know how easy it is to get that airside pass, sadly enough. Usually CC are cheap rented labor from some third rate agency, there for a couple months and then gone again. Yes, there are some airlines that still do employ most of their CC on real contracts and do not rent them in on an ad hoc basis, but i believe that will probably vanish as the other way is so much cheaper, especially if there is no business/premium product on offer.

The reason I made the contrast was that the CC in the cockpit answer is the standard in the US and doesn't appear to have suffered from any of the issues raised in this thread.
In my opinion there is a cultural difference. As far as i know the CC is required on both sides of the atlantic if there is no video system to identify the person in front of the door and make sure that the area is clear. Those systems are the norm in europe (apart from ryanair) but apparently weren't in the US. Therefore our US brethren are used to the CC in the flightdeck, we were used to not needing them and working without them, since they are not required (and trained) to open the door from the inside. Even now that they are supposedly trained most are not able to operate the electronic lock, not to mention the video system.

The whole thing is a farce to be honest, the result is that pilots do drink a lot less during a work day and dehydrate to prevent interrupting the passenger service and get some disgruntled CC and another one blocking the galley. If they have to do it anyway the remaining pilot has to cope with that disgruntled untrained person on the flight deck and still operate the door/video system anyway. It is simply a measure to placate the travelling public, not a real security measure.
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Old 20th Oct 2015, 12:45
  #3345 (permalink)  
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EU launches "Action Plan".....

Today the EU launched an "Action Plan"

20/10/2015 - Transport

"EASA intends to use both existing rules and innovative regulatory solutions for the implementation of the recommendations. Concrete actions will be launched in the areas of air operations, aircrew, Information Technology (IT) and data protection. The next steps will be:
- An Aircrew Medical Fitness workshop to be organised in early December 2015. The workshop will gather European and world-wide experts to discuss the implementation of the recommendations. The results of this workshop will be a draft proposal of concrete actions to implement the recommendations, to be further discussed and approved among all the interested parties: European Commission, EASA, airlines, crews, doctors, etc.
- Operational Directives in the area of air operations and aircrew might be published by EASA in the first quarter of 2016 to address specific safety issues and prepare proposals for new rules. Operational Directives are a new regulatory tool which may be used for the first time on this occasion. They will provide operators and national aviation authorities with indications on how to pro-actively implement the recommendations, and what are the actions required.
- New rules such as new acceptable means of compliance (AMC) and guidance material (GM) to existing regulations will be developed as needed before the end of 2016."

The integral "Action Plan" can be found here:
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 16:59
  #3346 (permalink)  
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EASA is organising a survey about the 2-person-cockpit recommendation it made after the Germanwings crash.

You can participate here:
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 20:23
  #3347 (permalink)  

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Red face 2-person cockpit and safety (in general)

Back in the days when the 737 was first introduced, designed for 2-pilot operation, BALPA resisted this strongly on the grounds that "3 pairs of eyes is better than 2" during critical phases of flight (I was around that time working on BA's flight sim maintenance, having worked previously at Link-Miles building sims). The result was a "redesign" of the Trident, which was originally planned to be a 2-pilot aircraft, and the solution for BA was to introduce "P3" and move much of Trident's (previous Flight Engineer's) fuel and systems instrumentation (IIRC) back to the rear right side of the flight deck.

The problem of "pilot suicide" was not an issue then and neither was the much more recent terrorist issues that resulted in the self-destruct intention of a pilot enabling him to isolate the flight deck in order to carry out his suicide, and the resulting deaths of entire aircraft.

Reinstating the "P3" concept is unfortunately not a viable solution as we no longer have trained Flight Engineers, and moving back to 3-crew, even with one jump-seating, could not be practical in the short- or medium-term as "P3"s could not be brought into the industry fast enough.

Although hindsight is, as always "20/20", it seems that we are "hoist by our own petard" having phased out the 3rd cockpit member who, as I recall, was originally a trained engineer who could often fix a snag when away from base by his own skills. Maybe that's no longer feasible with modern aircraft, but it would probably have prevented several events in recent years when one of a pair of pilots have decided to self-destruct and take an entire aircraft's crew and PAX with him.

I'm not convinced that medicos could quickly enough respond to a pilot who, for example, found himself in a emotionally and financially disastrous divorce situation, or a financial catastrophe, and kept it to himself, to avoid this sort of scenario occurring again.

My thoughts (FWIW) - maybe an "Air Marshal" on the jump seat? Or would that be another weak point if it was the Air Marshal that became temporarily unbalanced

Just my 2 cents,

Last edited by ExSimGuy; 12th Feb 2016 at 20:32. Reason: edited to tidy up and remove typos)
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 20:44
  #3348 (permalink)  
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Typical knee jerk legislation. Introduce a new rule without thinking it through and afterwards wonder if it was a good idea.
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 20:58
  #3349 (permalink)  
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Read about Japan Airlines Flight 350, from back in 1982. Suicidal DC-8 Captain decided to crash the plane. Both the First Officer and the Flight Engineer tried to restrain the Captain without success.

Plane plunged into Tokyo Bay. 24 dead. Captain survived and later acquitted: "not guilty by reason of insanity".
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 21:07
  #3350 (permalink)  

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Exclamation Japan Airlines Flight 350

I'm guessing that was initiated from a low altitude - on take-off or late approach. Not enough time for the other 2 crew members to prevent it.

For a "nice" high-energy crash it has to be higher and faster. Hence the survivors on this one.
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 21:28
  #3351 (permalink)  
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Passing legislation for a one off case is always a bad idea.

I followed the aftermath of this case for other reasons, and frankly unless you wear a tatoo saying " I am an airline pilot" to warn the Psychiatrists of the MD who you really are, and then you will need to force Medical doctors to warn your employer that you are unfit to fly, it will not work ,there is little you can do to prevent this in our open societies.
Lubitz went to see over 20 different doctors , was reported unfit to work by nearly all of them, but only a few declared they knew he was a pilot, and those one who knew just gave him a paper to stay at home.

EASA legislation will not change this.

Only in Russia (and some other CIS states ) I believe Airline Pilots are still given a medical check before every flight, by a company doctor. Was at least still like this a few years ago. Good lefts over from the Soviet times.

Last being 2 or 3 or even 4 in a cockpit , will probably not prevent a highly intelligent psychopath to hide , and do what he wants to do. That is at least what all the psychiatrist say.
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Old 12th Feb 2016, 21:38
  #3352 (permalink)  
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Don't (just) give your opinion here. Fill out the survey (as well).
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 21:40
  #3353 (permalink)  
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Read the European Cockpit Association's point of view on this issue:
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 10:31
  #3354 (permalink)  
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The paper does a good job of identifying the main issues. However, without any proper risk analysis evident on those issues, it does seem to arrive at its conclusion...

The "minimum occupancy" concept is NOT an effective security tool. Quite to the contrary, such a measure has the potential of introducing a risk higher than the one it is trying to prevent, and for which effective mitigating measures are not readily available.
..like a rabbit from a hat.
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 15:04
  #3355 (permalink)  
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ExSImGuy history error

With all due respect, ExSimGuy, a lot of the history in your first few paragraphs is completely adrift.

The Trident was already in service when the 737 was first envisioned in 1964. It always had a Flight Engineer station, in the same location as all other 3 crew aircraft. It was never designed as a 2 crew aircraft and the idea that it was "redesigned" following pressure from BALPA is absurd. (It was originally designed to be a significantly bigger aircraft and was redesigned in 1958 to be smaller following pressure from BEA for commercial reasons, which proved to be spectacularly ill-advised, but that's another story.)

As BEA did not have any Flight Engineers on its payroll and didn't plan to get any, the then Air Registration Board allowed them to re-designate the 3rd crew member position to be a Systems Panel Operator (SPO) who carried out Flight Engineer functions in flight, but was not permitted to exercise any other privileges of a Flight Engineers' Licence. All Trident F/Os were licensed as both pilot and SPO and generally flew alternate legs in each seat. I joined BEA on this basis in 1965, and as far as I'm aware there was never any discussion of 3 crew versus 2.

The minimum crew controversy arose much later, in 1977-78, in particular with the DC9, B757/767 and A310, resulting in the 1981 report of The President's Task Force on Aircraft Crew Complement. This (1) reviewed the August 1980 decision by the Federal Aviation Administration to certify the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-80 aircraft for operation by a minimum of two persons; and (2) made recommendations concerning the use of two-member crews in the proposed Boeing 757 and 767 and other 'new generation' commercial jet aircraft. I was involved in giving evidence to that Task Force.

The only point at which I am aware of any movement of components in the way you suggest emerged at a discussion in Seattle between Boeing and the BA/BALPA joint flight ops project team for the B757, for which BA was launch customer along with Eastern. Boeing's statement that they had never at any time contemplated having a 3rd crew member in the 757 was undermined by our finding on a table in the D-cab briefing room a set of drawings of just such an arrangement where a number of overhead panels were relocated to a side panel.
Apologies for thread drift.
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 23:13
  #3356 (permalink)  
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made recommendations concerning the use of two-member crews in the proposed Boeing 757 and 767 and other 'new generation' commercial jet aircraft.
Unless you were Ansett
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 00:19
  #3357 (permalink)  
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Red face

(2) made recommendations concerning the use of two-member crews in the proposed Boeing 757 and 767 and other 'new generation' commercial jet aircraft. I was involved in giving evidence to that Task Force.
The 767 was initially designed for a 3 man crew and it was AFTER the first two flyable were starting fab that the cab was changed to a 2 man crew. One of the resultant issues involvede the ' skull cap ' ( the area between front cockpit windows and the overhead panels). The re routing of hydraulic systems resulted in certain valves/switches being located there. But the chicken gun tests ( x pound bird fired at that area at 200? mph ) resulted in enough damage to that area [ which would take out major hydraulic system controls ] - that the structure had to be redesigned from aluminum structural members to titanium, etc.

I forget all the reasons for the change from three to two- but foggy memory recalls a united airlines Pi*** contest re flight enginerers, crew costs and similar.
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 03:43
  #3358 (permalink)  
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I think that had there been a third crew engineer/systems, airfrance and airaisia system failure>stall would probably have been averted
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 04:43
  #3359 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by phylosocopter View Post
I think that had there been a third crew engineer/systems, airfrance and airaisia system failure>stall would probably have been averted
AF447 had three crew in the cockpit for a good part of their stalled descent, and it didn't help them much. Adding more confused/dosoriented people in the cockpit isn't necessarily going to improve the outcome.
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 05:57
  #3360 (permalink)  
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Although it has been done to death, a stick in the belly of the PNF would have helped...
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